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Humbled Montpellier seek redemption

Publish on 08/01/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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FC Montpellier Hérault will look to put a humiliating exit from the Coupe de France behind them when they visit FC Nantes in one of two rearranged Ligue 1 Conforama matches on Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Ligue 1 Conforama, Week 18

FC Nantes  -  Montpellier Hérault SC

 Montpellier head to the Stade de la Beaujoire in one of two games that were postponed in Week 18 in mid-December due to the ongoing Gilets Jaunes protests in France. Coach Michel Der Zakarian may not have initially been too happy about seeing the fixtures pile up early in the New Year - they also have a rearranged game at Paris Saint-Germain to come next month - but the timing of this match could end up helping his side.

After finishing 2018 in fourth place in the table, Montpellier returned from the short winter break to be unceremoniously dumped out of the Coupe de France at the first hurdle on Saturday, conceding a last-gasp goal to go down 1-0 away to third-tier Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien in the Paris suburbs.

"We were all very disappointed. It was a damaging elimination but we are not going to spent the next two weeks feeling sorry for ourselves. We are moving on," said Der Zakarian, who took his squad to the Atlantic coast near Nantes to prepare for this game. "Our objective remains the same as it was before the holidays: to climb onto the podium."

Montpellier will move above Olympique Lyonnais into third with a win, but they have won just one of their last five league outings. They also lost 3-0 at home to Nantes in the Coupe de la Ligue in October. Les Canaris are in the bottom half but are unbeaten at home since Vahid Halilhodžić was appointed coach in October, and they did win in the Cup at the weekend, seeing off second-tier Châteauroux 4-1.

Probable teams

Nantes: Tătăruşanu; Mbodji, Diego Carlos, Pallois; Kwateng, Touré, Girotto, Rongier (c), Lima; Sala, Waris

Montpellier: Lecomte; Águilar, Congré, Hilton (c), Cozza, Oyongo; Le Tallec, Sambia, Skhiri; Laborde, Delort

Amiens SC  -  Angers SCO

Angers SCO suffered an even more embarrassing defeat in the Cup. The 2017 Coupe de France runners-up were also in the Paris suburbs and went down 1-0 away to sixth-tier minnows Viry-Châtillon.

It was the first time in the 21st century that a top-flight team had lost to a side five divisions beneath them, but Stéphane Moulin's side are perhaps fortunate that other, bigger names, such as Olympique de Marseille - were also knocked out at the weekend. Angers also now have a chance to quickly get back on track as they go to the Stade de la Licorne to take on Amiens SC.

"We are not proud of what happened," admitted Moulin, whose team are 15th in the table, three points clear of the bottom three and two points ahead of Amiens with a game in hand.

"It is very tight, we know that. We need to have a good second half of the season to get out of a position that is not comfortable enough. I believe that there will be a reaction from the players."

Probable teams

Amiens: Gurtner; Krafth, Gouano (c), Adenon, Dibassy; Monconduit, Blin; Gnahoré, Bodmer, Mendoza; Timité

Angers: Butelle; Manceau, Traoré (c), Thomas, Bamba; N'Doye, Santamaria, Capelle; Reine-Adélaïde, Bahoken, Tait